the colour of our lives

poetry • celebration • faith • nature • humanity • imperfections • glory

Archive for the tag “friendship”


do not consider
me wise. Any
appearance has
arrived only by
circular argument; I
have studied only


do not assume
I have been
sanctified by suffering.
being both cause
and victim,
I suffer


do not expect
me to react
maturely to kind
encouragement; your
words call me
beyond all


do not hesitate
to find fault;
the alternative is
that you find me,
after all,


(for Carroll Boswell, who remains kind in the face of reticence)

schoolyard racing

In the time it takes to ride my bicycle the width of this school, I watch them: two girls about eight or nine years old, set to race to the boundary fence. An unseen signal, and they’re running; the elfin brunette with natural speed and grace and rhythm outpacing the tall blonde girl like she was born to run, and the other running self-consciously, like she needs to think about every step, like speed is a borrowed coat. Half-way, already strides ahead, the dark-haired speedster breaks her step, turns a full and perfect cartwheel – she doesn’t care that her friend has caught and passed her, that her seizing of this timeless moment has cost her the race but not her friendship. The tall girl reaches the fence, arms raised in victory, while her little friend, now just a step behind, coasts in, happy with the way things have gone.

[2001 sometime]

I hope you still smoke cigarettes

When you told me that you’d sold your guitar
and that you didn’t do music anymore
it was like the other little brush-offs of
that afternoon’s conversation except
for the hint or illusion of a blade

Perhaps you’re right: you may succeed at
writing, and teaching, and maybe these are even
higher pursuits to be achieved as a mind of light,
treading softly on the world,
leaving no footprints and collecting no soil.

It’s just that I have this memory of you,
old Gretsch-style six-string in your lap,
sitting on the stage at Hobart’s with Dylan
and the Floyd singing resonant from your throat,
and a calming smoke afterwards as we spoke

Sharing that single cigarette might have been
a sacrament, an act of holy remembrance;
two men of naked flesh and blood caught,
shivering but smiling,
in the hazy awkward wind.

The kingdom of God

the kingdom of God
is like a hug
on my thigh from
someone else’s daughter
confusing my denimed leg for her father’s

the kingdom of God
is my wife
in the car on
the way to church
thanking me for being a better man

the kingdom of God
is a rainforest
bower bird
shining indigo
sapphire eyes backlit like new suns

the kingdom of God
is my nine-year-old niece
calling from New Zealand
spunky and unguarded
young voice singing like a silver string

the kingdom of God
is like Saturdays
once-a-month with new friends
soup, garlic bread and
the bible laughter and cheap wine

The kingdom of God
is like thinking for
a few weeks about
the best years of your life
and finding that they are now

the river darkens towards night

Above calm river’s liquid glass
translucent waxing moon hangs
over smoke from distant fires.
An eastward breeze launches
regattas of crisp leaves,
brown, upturned palms
chasing distant hurried skeins
of cormorants, returning upriver
across the afternoon’s oblique and golden light.

Landscaped for sunburnt
children and public lovers,
a coarse and sandy lawn
dips shoreward
beneath fragrant birdsong gums,
smoothbark branches beckoning
office-struck humans to
sacred, contemplative
space before the sliver of iron-gold beach.

We sit, gratefully,
on weathered hardwood benches,
eyes facing outward,
conversation and hearts
crossing the sweet, cool air between.
We and the congregation
of reluctant workers turn
towards limestone halls and cloisters.
Alone and ancient, the river darkens towards night.

the colour of our lives (blog theme poem)

(this poem has its own page, too)

we play and posture
yet always cry sincerely
bare beneath our dream

a summer bushland
perfumed with eucalyptus
you hold hands with God

we sit in silence
stalemate of our stubborn wills;
wait – the thrust of Grace!

evening wine and song
campfire sparks with She-oak; we
claim an ancient theme

dandling friends’ children
is bittersweet with longing:
dreaming, you find hope

clear ocean like glass
vivid life concealed below
floating on heaven

October 2001

thumb index

A and her family are neighbours;
All the Bs, a mix of old friends and new, from close to distant.
One cherished Mr C adds Ms B and a new address; another has left Mrs C a young widow.
Some Ds are no longer together; we worry that some Es may follow. There are no Fs, and Gs are ex-neighbours, family of friends; our circles intersect infrequently. Two Hs are neighbourhood friends and related; a Ms H was a friend, now forsaken by the relentless inertia of drawing apart. ‘I’s  are blank, and the lone Js are like the Gs and related to them too.
One Ms K, no longer seen, has only a first name. The other and her daughter are like us, sans man. Ls are two sets of friends, neither close, one old and one new. Three Ms are occasional friends, and retired neighbours; the first, though, a friend long-standing and formative, albeit seldom seen.
The sole Ns are close; good friends for many years but at a distance. Friendship with the first Os is similarly close, and we see them often. A Mrs O was a neighbour. Two Ps are one family never close and seldom seen; the others mentors, distant in time and geography.
Unsurprisingly, no Qs except questions.
The Rs are many, being mostly related and far away; the rest are occasional friends and colleagues, old and new. Most of the Ss are family too; as far as the Rs but closer. The non-related Ss are closer friends. The Ts repeat one L and one club acquaintance.
V is for a loved one, lost, and a friend seldom seen but none the less intimate for it..
The Ws are a hierarchy of closeness; two old school friends, one treasured, one perplexing; the others, colleagues and sojourners who drifted away. XYZ only has a single Y; among them all the only disciple.

Last true revision: 4 March 2010

seven ways to miss a friend

How does this work;
finding out, only now he’s gone,
that you loved a man?

Looking back, the clues are there,
out-of-season fruit hanging
in the still-existent past:

One; shared likes. Rocks and stuff.
Fishing (but he actually liked the fishing part,
maybe more, even, than the fresh air)

Two; the Professor thing. Sure, he was
teasing. But in a good way; a blokey
affirmation; a challenge.

Three; the other brainy stuff. We spent
enough time in each other’s company that
his wild ideas annoyed me sometimes.

Four; family. His wife’s a kissing friend;
I cuddle his infant son. Their daughter slept
a night in my house; he gave mine passionfruit.

Five; passion and integrity.
He lived  and said what he believed, and
mostly that scared the skin off me.

Six; the food. (Simple, but true).
Chilli and rice, tea and wine at the long table.
Kids weaving between conversations.

Seven; faith. We are chased by the
same God. Josh sees Him more clearly
now, but maybe he always did.

Last real revision: 11 November 2008




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